Poland wants good relations with Ukraine but such relations must respect fundamental national interests, the Polish foreign ministry has said.
The foreign ministry issued a statement in response to a dispute that raged earlier this week over remarks made by Polish President Andrzej Duda’s chief of staff, Marcin Przydacz. He said that Ukraine should show more gratitude for Poland’s support throughout the conflict with Russia and be more understanding of Poland’s farming interests regarding Ukrainian grain exports.
The foreign ministry insisted that Poland “wants good relations with Ukraine” but that they must be based “on mutual respect and consideration for national interests.”
“Partners should avoid using language and behavior that damages good relations. Poland expects Ukraine to be open to addressing Polish concerns with regard to Polish agriculture and other issues,” it added.
The statement is a reflection of the irritation felt in Warsaw at the words of President Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Andrey Sibiga, who had accused Poland of betrayal over the grain embargo. Poland was also offended that its ambassador in Kyiv had been summoned for a dressing-down at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry over Przydacz’s remarks.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński took to social media to note certain key aspects in Polish-Ukrainian relations. He stated that “Poland supports Ukraine as much but no more than is compatible with the Polish national interest.”
He also said that “reciprocity was the basis of international relations” and that it is “worth respecting those who provide support.”
Jabłoński suggested that Ukraine, finding itself in the position it is in, should be treating Poland with more respect. He understood Ukraine’s feelings on Russian aggression but felt that “emotions weren’t the best of advisors and the lack of respect for allies does not assist in realizing diplomatic objectives such as increasing the scale and forms of support.”
The minister repeated Poland’s position that help for Ukrainian grain exports cannot be at the expense of Polish farmers. “Pressure on Poland will not work,” and it would be better to pressure the EU to help member states with infrastructure to facilitate the transit of Ukrainian grain further afield, he added.
He concluded his remarks with a reminder of the Volhynia massacre of Poles during World War II. “The crime in Volhynia was one of genocide carried out by Ukrainians against Poles. This crime must be acknowledged, the exhumations resumed, and the victims honored. Without this, there will be no Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation nor Ukrainian integration in the EU,” Jabłoński said.